The Spirit Lake Nation announced they will use a $1.2 million grant to turn their Recovery and Wellness Center into a drug treatment center.
According to leaders from United Health Foundation and the Cankdeska Cikana Community College, the two groups are joining together to create the area’s first drug abuse treatment center. The project should be done in 10 months according to United Health.
Leaders from both groups announced in Totten their plans for the new 15-bed treatment center.
United Health CEO Dave Wichmann said substance abuse was found to be the Spirit Lake Nation’s No. 1 priority after a community assessment one year ago.
Wichman said the $1.2 million grant from United Health will fully pay for the renovation of the Recovery and Wellness Center. United Health, according to Wichman, will make an additional grant available in the form of “in-kind clinical expertise and counsel.”
This extra grant will also include 12 North Dakotan college students who are studying abuse treatment.
According to Wichman, the objective of United Health is to target issues in communities by providing investments in facilities and medical staff.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp praised United Health, calling them a “builder for change.” Heitkamp also said this project specifically will bring optimism for the Spirit Lake Nation.
Sen. Heitkamp added, “There is one ingredient a leader cannot provide, and that is hope. That has to come from all of you. We cannot be a culture of despair. We cannot simply say, that’s the way it is.”
Cynthia Lindquist, president of the Cankdeska Cikana Community College, is, according to Wichman, the main catalyst for their two groups successful relationship.
The group’s partnership is “bringing forward new opportunities for our people,” Lindquist said. “There’s much work to be done, but that’s OK. We’re all hard workers.”
The push for more resources to combat the Spirit Lake Nation’s drug problem should be based on the community according to Lindquist. The two groups will aim to employ select tribe members to treat adults with addiction problems, Lindquist said.
Lindquist also iterated the importance of the project. “Everything we do today reflects tomorrow,” she said. “We all know that the work we do today is for those to come.”
Lindquist said she hopes this project will inspire other communities that want to approach the issue of drug abuse.
Lindquist said the project could lead to a happier and healthier people in the Spirit Lake Nation. “We don’t need to have our people dying.”